Debate Team Takes Top Honor At Nationals

Ball State's debate team won their eighth overall national team championship title at the 2016 National Education Debate Association tournament. 

Senior English major Mary Pat Stemnock was named an All-American Debater at the competition, which is awarded to a senior who exemplifies the values of NEDA debate. The tournament was March 11-12 at Fullerton College.

This was Stemnock’s second year going to Nationals with the team, and she was also awarded first place speaker in Open Public Forum, as well as first place team with her partner, junior Evan Like.

"The overall experience was fantastic. I had a great time traveling to California with the team and really enjoyed meeting students from other colleges and universities,” Stemnock said. "This was one of the largest tournaments I’ve competed in, and it was incredibly rewarding to have the opportunity to compete against some very talented collegiate debaters.”

At the competition, two different events — crossfire and policy — take place. Crossfire lasts 30 minutes and requires competitors to think on their feet about various topics. Policy goes for one hour and incorporates research into the competition. Three rounds took place on Friday and another three followed on Saturday before semi-finals and finals took place for both events later in the evening.

Sophomore communications major Hannah Sullivan, who competed in the Crossfire competition, was one of the 15 students who represented Ball State at Nationals. This was her first time at the event, and while she didn’t make it to semifinals, she said the final outcome for the team made the experience worthwhile.

“My partner and I were hoping to make it to semifinals, but unfortunately we only got sixth,” Sullivan said. "We were nervous about the team not winning this year because we weren't the biggest team to go, but it was an amazing feeling when we won. It means our hard work all semester finally paid off.”